Reflections on being curious and asking questions … the experience of the holy season of Lent.

In the holy season of Lent, we are called to the spiritual discipline of preparation. Some part of this is the practice of curiosity and questioning. Entering Lent is wandering into  the metaphorical  ‘wilderness’ … where everything is primal and makes a difference and you’re likely to be at risk and to get lost … it’s about life and death, about getting down to core values. From that deep place arises the deep questions, the underlying ‘why’ that shapes how we live. So Lent is about living close to the wellspring of creativity and tension, beyond the context that usually makes us comfortable, safe, and secure. Paying attention to Lent becomes an invitation to go into an emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual place where we have permission to wonder and doubt and explore and grow. — Rev Gail (with credit to Rev Sean Dunker-Bendigo of Madison Church for the inspiration to approach Lent as a series of questions)

Music Video Link: Question by the Moody Blues

Be present.
Make love. Make tea.
Avoid small talk. Embrace conversation.
Buy a plant, water it.
Make your bed. Make someone else’s bed.
Have a smart mouth and a quick wit.
Run. Make art. Create.
Swim in the ocean. Swim in the rain.
Take chances. Ask questions.
Make mistakes. Learn.
Know your worth.
Love fiercely. Forgive quickly.
Let go of what doesn’t make your happy.
Grow.
— Paulo Coelho

On Asking Questions: Being Curious

Always the beautiful answer / who asks a more beautiful question. —e.e. Cummings

Be curious. — Stephen Hawking

Don’t be afraid to look again at everything you’ve ever believed … I believe the more we search, the more we delve into the human teachings about the nature and God of life, which are in fact are the teachings of all the great religions traditions, the closer we come to a mature understanding of the Godself … In other words, doubt, questions, drive us to look at how we ourselves need to grow in wisdom, age and grace.  The courage to face questions is the first step in that process. — Joan Chittister

Instead of anxiety about chasing a passion that you’re not even feeling, do something a lot simpler: Just follow your curiosity. — Elizabeth Gilbert

A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea. — John Anthony Ciardi

Curiosity isn’t the icing on the cake. It’s the cake itself. — Susan Engel

We live in the world our questions create. — David Cooperrider

The role of the artist is to ask questions, not to answer them. — Anton Chekhov

I was looking for myself and asking everyone but myself questions which I, and only I, could answer. — Ralph Ellison

Ever since I was a little girl and could barely talk, the word ‘why’ has lived and grown along with me… When I got older, I noticed that not all questions can be asked and that many whys can never be answered. As a result, I tried to work things out for myself by mulling over my own questions. And I came to the important discovery that questions which you either can’t or shouldn’t ask in public, or questions which you can’t put into words, can easily be solved in your own head. So the word ‘why’ not only taught me to ask, but also to think. And thinking has never hurt anyone. On the contrary, it does us all a world of good. — Anne Frank

Judge a man by his questions, rather than his answers. — Voltaire

How do I create something out of nothing? How do I create my own life? I think it is by questioning. — Amy Tan

My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, “So? Did you learn anything today?” But not my mother. “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?” That difference—asking good questions—made me become a scientist. — Isidor Isaac Rabi

On Lent: Surrendering Ourselves

The reality is that I cannot free myself from the bondage of self.  I cannot keep from being turned in on self. I cannot by my own understanding or effort disentangle myself from my self interest and when I think that I can …I am trying to do what is only God’s to do. To me, there is actually great hope in admitting my mortality and brokenness because then I finally lay aside my sin management program and allow God to be God for me.  Which is all any of us really need when it comes down to it … —  Nadia Bolz-Weber

… another Lenten season, a time of lengthening days…not just in hours but in slowness, in taking time to linger over our spiritual lives, over our identity as a people of faith, over the texts that form us and the quiet places in which God speaks to us, still. — Kathryn M. Matthews

The big rub is that to surrender my “singularity” (John 12:24) and fall into this “altogether new creation” will always feel like dying. How could it not? It is a dying of the self that we thought we were, but it is the only self that we knew until then. It will indeed be a “revolution of the mind” (Ephesians 4:23). Heart and body will soon follow. This is the real “try harder” that applies to Lent, and its ultimate irony is that it is not a trying at all, but an ultimate surrendering, dying, and foundational letting go. You will not do it yourself, but it will be done unto you (Luke 1:38) by the events of your life. Such deep allowing is the most humiliating, sacrificial, and daily kind of trying! Pep talks seldom get you there, but the suffering of life and love itself will always get you there. Lent is just magnified and intensified life. — Richard Rohr

I think it is good news–because even if no one ever wants to go there, and even if those of us who end up there want out again as soon as possible, the wilderness is still one of the most reality-based, spirit-filled, life-changing places a person can be … What did that long, famishing stretch in the wilderness do to him?  It freed him–from all devilish attempts to distract him from his true purpose, from hungry craving for things with no power to give him life, from any illusion he might have had that God would make his choices for him. … But it would be a mistake for me to try to describe your wilderness exam.  Only you can do that, because only you know what devils have your number, and what kinds of bribes they use to get you to pick up.  All I know for sure is that a voluntary trip to the desert this Lent is a great way to practice getting free of those devils for life–not only because it is where you lose your appetite for things that cannot save you, but also because it is where you learn to trust the Spirit that led you there to lead you out again, ready to worship the Lord your God and serve no other all the days of your life.  — Barbara Brown Taylor

But the historic practices of Lent are Christian. There are three of them: praying, fasting, almsgiving. These are three things that Christians should consider doing all the time, but the 46 days of Lent provide us with an explicit invitation to do them more intentionally. I say an invitation, because we don’t have to do them, not during Lent, not ever. … I am going to make an unabashed case for Lent, myself. …  Lent is a chance to uncork the bottle, to unclog our spirits from what is stifling them, to sample the mystery. It is a chance to own that we do not wholly own ourselves, but acknowledge that God has a claim over us. We work so hard for radical equality in our lives—for equal marriage, equal pay for equal work, an end to bigotry of all varieties—and we sometimes delude ourselves, as religious people, that radical equality extends to our relationship with God … Taking on a Lenten discipline means surrendering to a higher power, it means placing ourselves under God’s authority and protection. But here’s the rub: to place ourselves under God’s authority is a reminder that we are under no other authority, or at least that all those other authorities are less than God’s. The church, the state, our remote fathers, our overbearing mothers, our inept boss who gets paid more than we do, our snarky coworkers, the popular crowd, the opposing football team, the opposing political party, Al Qaeda, alcohol, fried foods, chocolate, caffeine, porn, late-night cable. Whatever our addictions, whatever our self-medication devices, whatever our overlords of fear and control, none can match the power of God our Father and Mother, if we choose God as our God. To claim that we are in a direct relationship with our Creator, to join with that Creator and Sustainer in an act of self-disciplining, is an act of resistance. It’s a boycott of all that is body-wounding and soul-killing. It is a radical re-ordering of our priorities, and a reclamation of our God-given will and strength …  … What might you do, this Lent, to rend your heart, to give God an opening? What might you do to make God-shaped space within your heart, a space that will invite you to call on the name of God more frequently, to share the experience of your brother Jesus in the wilderness, to uncork the Spirit and let it flow freely, to release yourself from rage or addiction or the tyranny of lesser gods? What can you give up, or take on, as an act of resistance against the authorities that don’t deserve any claim over you?  — Molly Phinney Baskette

THIS WEEK at Jackson Community Church and Around Town WED, Jan 16 – SUN, Jan 20

Note: PASTORAL CARE will be available from Gerry Tilton this week during Rev Gail Pomeroy Doktor’s absence due to a family medical emergency. Gerry Tilton can be reached by email (forestgt22@aol.com) or by phone 603.236.6657. She lives in nearby Bartlett and serves on the pastoral staff of First Congregational Church in North Conway, NH.

WED, Jan 16

  • TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer
    9:30am • Parish House.Fitness class. Free; open to public. Weather dependent; if schools close, the class will be cancelled.
  • DE-GREENING of CHURCH
    10:30am-Noon • Church Sanctuary
    Christmas decorations will be taken down. This may take more than one day to accomplish, but volunteers would be welcome to come help.

THURS, Jan 17

  • FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
    9am • First Floor, Parish House / Jackson Community Church. Beginning stretch, flow and align yoga; safe for new practitioners.
  • Community Event: STORY TIME
    10:30am • Jackson Public Library
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Jan 18

  • Private Event: AVALANCHE CLASS
    All Day • Second Floor, Jackson Community Church
    Private class providing instruction to outdoor athletes and emergency responder for avalanche preparedness and response.
  • Community Event: BEFORE THERE WERE MIRRORS Concert
    7:30pm • St Andrews-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, Tamworth, NH
    A musical evening of story and song with Ellen Schwindt, Jed Wilson and Mary Edes. Suggested donation at the door: $10 and a hand-held mirror (some will be available at the door).  

SAT, Jan 19

  • Community Event: WEATHERIZING MT WASHINGTON VALLEY
    9:30am • Tin Mountain Conservation Center
    • Check your eligibility for matching funds from your utility company (up to $4,000!) at NHSaves.com 
    • Sign up for a $100 audit with one of 3 contractors by March 15th
      • sign up for an audit at the event OR
      • Use the contact information provided on Tin Mountain’s website to sign up after the kick-off event
    • Decide on any necessary work with the auditor. Sign up by May 31st for a chance to win a great raffle prize!
  • Martin Luther King Day of Service: PAINTING the WAY STATION!
    9am – 4pm • Admin Building of Nativity Lutheran Church
    Meet and work at the Jackson Community Church will have a team of volunteers helping with this project: wear your paint clothes and help brighten up the kitchen and lounge areas in the first floor of the administrative building on the Nativity Lutheran Church, which will be home to the Way Station. Paint supplies will be provided; bring your energy and enthusiasm! Once open, this day resource center will meet basic needs for homeless teens, families and adults in the Mt Washington Valley: laundry, showers, internet access, post office box, social and emotional support, connection to nearby social services.
  • Martin Luther King Weekend Activity: PEOPLE’S MARCH
    Theme: Improve Our World!
    1-3pm • Gathering starts at covered bridge. Walk to Jackson Grammar School.

SUN,  Jan 20

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • CHOIR PRACTICE
    As long as weather permits Ellen Schwindt’s travel, choir practice will take place.
  • WORSHIP 
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    • Message: Gerry Tilton
    • Accompanist: Alan Labrie
    • Choir director: Ellen Schwindt
  • Martin Luther King Weekend
    COMMUNITY CELEBRATION
    7-9 pm • Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Eastern Slopes, Tamworth, NH Our featured speaker, Dr. Donna San Antonio, will address the topic “Becoming a White Ally: Stories of Mentoring Toward Social Justice” using personal reflection as a springboard for considering the inter-sectionality of race, ethnicity, gender, and social class. Also included in the program will be music by Peg Loughran, Shana Aisenberg and others. Storyteller (and World Fellowship Co-Director) Andy Davis will offer a story. A guilt-free potluck will follow. Note: This program is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Eastern Slopes and The World Fellowship Center. For more information, please call Andy Davis at (603)452-4446. More information.

THIS WEEK: Jan 2 – SUN, Jan 6

WED, Jan 2 (2019)

  •  PASTOR’S HOURS
    7-8:45am • JTown Deli. Come by for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk by calling/texting Rev Gail 978.273.0308 or emailing Rev Gail (gaildoktor@mac.com).
  • New Start Time: TUNE UP FITNESS with Laurie McAleer
    9:30am • Parish House, Jackson Community Church. Fitness class. Free; open to public.
  • Community Note: PUBLIC SCHOOL RESUMES after holiday break.

THURS, Jan 3

  • No class this week – resumes next week: FLOW & ALIGN YOGA with Anjali Rose
  • AA
    6:30pm • Second Floor, Church.

FRI, Jan 4

  • PASTOR’S HOURS
    7-9am • JTown Deli. Come by for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk by calling/texting Rev Gail 978.273.0308 or emailing Rev Gail (gaildoktor@mac.com)
  • PASTOR’S OFFICE HOURS
    9-11am • Pastor’s Office, Second Floor. Come by for hot beverage and conversation. Or make a date to go for a walk by calling/texting Rev Gail 978.273.0308 or emailing Rev Gail (gaildoktor@mac.com)
  • Community Event: AVALANCHE CLASS with XXX …
    All day • Starts in Parish Hall, Jackson Community Church.
    Registration required. Class to prepare back-country skiers, winter hikers and other athletes and professionals about avalanche conditions, preparedness and responses. 2-day class: indoor coursework and field work. More info: XXX …
  • Community Event: SOUP & SONGS BENEFIT CONCERT
    6pm Doors Open / 7pm Concert Begins @ Conway United Methodist Church, 1626 E. Main St. Center Conway, NH
    • A Benefit Concert to Support Recovery Services in Mt. Washington Valley
    • Featuring Music by Bennett & Perkins with Special Guest Taylor Whiteside
    • Tickets available online.
    • Come early for a potluck dinner featuring scratch-made soups and stews and pick your own hand-thrown pottery bowls crafted by local artisans.

SAT, Jan 5

  • CARL FULLER MEMORIAL SERVICE & RECEPTION
    Noon • Jackson Community Church.
    Memorial service to honor the life of Carl Fuller, followed by reception at church. Open to the community; friends of the Fuller family welcome and encouraged to attend.
  • Community Event: BOREAL BIRD FIELD PROGRAM
    8am – Noon • Meet at Grant’s Parking Lot in Glen, NH.
    Join the Tin Mountain Bird Society for a winter birding adventure north of the notches. We will visit boreal birding hot spots off Trudeau Road outside Bethlehem. Dress warm. Bring your own binoculars or borrow ours. Call 603-447-6991 for reservations.   

SUN,  Jan 6 – Epiphany

  • INTERFAITH GATHERING @ OLD LIBRARY
    8am • Old Library. Hot beverages available. Come for poetry, literature, conversation and prayer.
  • CHOIR REHEARSAL
    9am • Drop-in choir directed by Ellen Schwindt. All welcome to participate; come at 9am to warm up and learn the song.
  • WORSHIP with COMMUNION & SUNDAY SCHOOL
    10:30am •  Jackson Community Church.
    • Message: Rev Gail Pomeroy Doktor
    • Communion
    • Sunday School: Barry Chisholm
    • Accompanist: Alan Labrie
    • Choir director: Ellen Schwindt
  • Community Event: NEAT YEAR, NEW YOU
    7pm • Jackson Public Library
    Join the Friends of the Jackson Public Library for their first program of 2019 with professional organizer Mia Whalley. Transform your home from chaos to composed. For more details, visit www.neatmethod.com. Free and open to public; suggested $5 donation is welcome to offset presenter expenses.

ICE CARVING COMPETITION
Mon, Jan 7 • 10am Start
Wentworth Inn Porch

Top carvers from around New England return for the 24th Annual Great Ice Carvers of New England Invitational Ice Carving Competition. Competitors allowed 3 hours to transform a 300-pound block of ice into a work of art. Event is open to the public. Awards ceremony takes place in the lobby of The Wentworth. For more info, contact Kim Labnon, Director of Sales at The Wentworth at 603-383-9700 or kim@thewentworth.com.

FAVORITE BOWL
Sun, Jan 13 • 4pm
Whitney Community Center

  Make your own bowl. Cost: $40. Students will select a glaze color for their pieces during class and completed pieces will be available for pick up at the Whitney Center. All materials included. Completed pieces will be dishwasher and microwave safe. Register online.

DACAPO CONCERT
Sun, Jan 27 •  4pm
Whitney Community Center
  Continuing the Da Capo tradition of singing popular favorites, the concerts will include arrangements of Gershwin tunes, hits from the 1950s and 1960s, including “California Dreamin’,” “Misty” and “Girl from Ipanema,” and recent releases such as Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.” The group is co-directed by conductor Mary Bastoni and accompanist John Waldie. Concert is free to the public.  

FILM SCREENNG: RUN WILD, RUN FREE
Thurs, Jan 31 • 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Whitney Community Center

  Over 60 years ago America was in the peak of the industrial revolution and the nation’s waterways were dying from dams, water diversions and pollution. Run Wild Run Free takes the viewer through the history and current state of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act that sought to protect these waterways. Join Tin Mountain Conservation Center, the Jackson Conservation Commission, and former Director of Research for the AMC, Dr. Kenneth Kimball, for this celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Cost: $3/pp or $5/family.

This Week: Nov 12-18

THIS WEEK
at Jackson Community Church and Around Town
THIS WEEK @ JCC: Mon – Music Team; Tue – Deacons; Wed – Pastor’s Hours & Tune-Up Fitness & MIssions Mtg & Council Mtg; Thurs – Yoga & Front Entrance Renovation; Fri – Set Up for Brunch Church & Front Entrance Renovation; Sat – Pvt Wedding; Sun – Interfaith @ Old Library, Choir Rehearsal, Harvest Brunch & Worship plus Thankful in Mountains. COMMUNITY EVENTS: Wed – Oh My Aching Knees (Whitney Community Center)

Continue reading “This Week: Nov 12-18”